Almost There: Green-White Aggro

Posted in How to Build on May 4, 2018

By Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

Paulo has been playing Magic since he was eight years old. At fifteen, he ventured outside of Brazil for his first international tournament, and he's been globetrotting as a professional player ever since.

Previously in this Standard season, green-white decks have mostly been focused on swarming the board to profit from cards like Legion's Landing and Appeal // Authority. The printing of Lyra Dawnbringer, Llanowar Elves, and Goblin Chainwhirler seems to have changed this, and the latest iterations of green-white have mostly been midrange decks.

Here are two green-white lists that Top 8'ed the most recent Magic Online PTQ, including the one played by the winner, Team5c:

Team5c's Green-White Aggro

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Leaf33's Green-White Aggro

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Both decks operate in a very simple way—they want to play powerful creatures and overwhelm the opponent. Some of its creatures double up as removal spells: Walking Ballista can kill off small creatures (especially when aided by Rishkar, Peema Renegade), and Thrashing Brontodon can deal with God-Pharaoh's Gift, Cast Out, Seal Away, Vehicles, and any Sagas that people might end up playing (such as The Antiquities War, which is already starting to see some play). Past that, there are some planeswalkers to give card advantage and some Vehicles to defend against sweepers, plus a small number of removal spells.

The biggest difference between the lists is that the 1st-place one is straight green-white, whereas the 8th-place one is splashing for three copies of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and four copies of Negate in the sideboard. Personally, I don't see the appeal of Teferi—the deck isn't nearly as well equipped to use the "untap" ability as control decks are (given the general lack of instants), and if I'm spending five mana, I'd probably rather be doing something with a bit more immediate impact. On top of that, it's not like we have an excess of free blue sources—the deck only has eight plus two Servant of the Conduits, which is not a lot.

All in all, I like the first list more, but I'd make a couple of changes to it. The first thing I would do is cut the Treasure Maps. I understand the appeal of having Treasure Map and Karn, Scion of Urza, but I just don't think you need it, and Treasure Map is a very clunky card. Decks with Treasure Map want to spend their early turns activating it and casting cheap removal with their leftover mana, but this deck wants to tap out every turn for a haymaker, which means taxing yourself is too much of a burden.

Instead of the Treasure Maps, I'd include a second copy of Shalai, Voice of Plenty and a fourth copy of Lyra Dawnbringer. Shalai is a nice card in a world with more than a few Chandras and Glorybringers, and I specifically like that it protects you from Settle the Wreckage, so I think you can go up to two copies. Lyra might be weird as a four-of, but it's so immensely powerful when it lives that I think you can afford to have extras, because if it lives you're winning anyway.

After that, I'd also remove the two Aether Hubs. Aether Hub is really not good as a fixer for a two-color deck that doesn't produce a lot of energy, and I don't think having three copies of Aethersphere Harvester changes that. Honestly, I'd rather just replace them with one of each basic.

Finally, I'd swap the Seal Aways for Cast Outs. Seal Away is great versus red and other aggressive decks in general, but Green-White Aggro is already good enough against this type of thing, so I think it's even more important to be able to remove blockers than to remove attackers.

In the sideboard, I'd like to include some cards specifically for midrange mirrors, as I think they'll become more popular from now on. Ideally you'd have some proactive card that wins the game by itself, but I can't really think of any in this format, so for now I think sweepers are the best we can do.

This is what my deck would look like:

PV's Green-White Aggro

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